Let’s clarify this at the outset that all types of gambling is considered illegal throughout the United Arab Emirates. Even advertisements related to gambling and sports betting are frowned upon in the country.
However, please note, there are still certain means that expats and tourists can possibly try, to bet on their favourite sports without being found on the wrong side of the law. Furthermore, please keep in mind that if you choose to do so, you must place your bets only with reputed and reliable bookmakers such as Sbat.
The reasons behind illegality of sports betting and gambling in UAE
Why do you think gambling is illegal in UAE despite the Emirates having some of the wealthiest families of the world?
There are certain rules and laws based on Quran (the holy book in Islam) passages, applicable all over the United Arab Emirates. There are specific laws related to gambling activity too, the primary reason why no such activity as allowed in UAE.
Talking a bit more about these passages, there are precisely three that UAE government uses to exclude any form of gambling from its long list of legalised games. Each one of these three excerpts equates gambling with sin, and emphasise that it’s a work of Satan to create enmity and hatred among family and friends. In reality, it comes down to moral values and the idea that one should earn money only through diligent effort and honest work, not just by luck.
However, all through the Islamic history, Muslim scholars have agreed with the idea of taking part in sports, competitions and challenges, as all these activities are reasonable, fine and virtuous, as long as there is no gambling involved. This is also the reason you won’t find any brick and mortar casinos anywhere in the Emirates and not even online gambling portals.
Can foreign visitors continue to play sports bets in UAE?
It cannot be denied that UAE is a highly rich country where visitors and citizens are encouraged to enjoy their lives to the most. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many foreign tourists visiting the country look for the different ways and means to enjoy sports betting. That’s the reason why some specific types of sports betting have barely managed to stay legal in three rich areas of UAE, including Dubai.
Everyone knows that horse racing as extremely popular all through the UAE, and the Dubai World Cup continues to be one of the most talked about and loved horse races of the world. It’s also one with the maximum purse, as its prize money is in the vicinity of $ 10 million. The event attracts thousands of tourists from different parts of the world.
As many as 50,000 people reach the Meydan Racecourse to witness this popular event featuring the best horses on a 2 km track. While you may not find any on-site bookmakers anywhere near the track and anywhere in the Emirates, non-natives are technically allowed to indulge in bet placements through offshore bookmakers. The same logic is applied to other types of sports betting, including on games like football, tennis, cricket etc.
So, even though sports betting and gambling may be strictly illegal in Dubai and all over the UAE, foreign tourists might still be able to technically engage in it through offshore entities.